Medical Articles

Effects of Fast Food

Many people wonder about the effects of fast food for themselves or their children. Does fast food intake lead to health problems? Does fast food intake contribute to obesity? Let's face it: fast food is everywhere, it's tasty and it can even cost less than home-prepared food. With all those positive traits, can it really be all that bad for you?

Despite the prevalence of take out restaurants and the fact that most of us visit those restaurants, at least occasionally, fast foods are definitely beginning to be looked at in a more negative light. And with good reason.

It seems that fast food intake has at least a few negative health effects:

Customers tend to eat more quickly
Customers have a high intake of processed food
Customers have a relatively high intake of artificial ingredients.

Most customers in fast food restaurants know what they are eating is not that great for them; many, however, are not really sure how their quick lunch impacts overall health. Though this list is not exhaustive it gives you the main effects of fast food intake, primarily a higher risk of:

Cardiovascular disease
Various types of digestive problems
Type II diabetes
Diseases of the liver and gall bladder
Increased blood pressure
Increased cholesterol levels

Finally, one of the main effects of fast food intake is increased weight gain, and that is across the board age-wise. That means visits to a quick food restaurant for meals and snacks contribute to both childhood obesity and adult obesity. How is that possible? Three primary ways:

1. Eating quickly-There is a reason fast food is called fast. People tend to eat it quickly. When a well-established and proven diet tip is to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, it is pretty easy to see why eating quickly could be a health detriment. Simply by taking longer to eat a meal produces some great wellness results:

Helps control portion size
Helps food digest more completely
Helps with awareness and appreciation of food taste
Helps with release of hunger-balancing hormones
Helps give a sense of comfortable fullness

2. Eating processed-Eating real food prepared at home more easily ensures you are getting the wide range of nutrients your body needs for optimum health. When you eat the highly processed food that is generally offered in quick serve restaurants you get less of those nutrients and can therefore be more inclined toward obesity and ill health. The nutrients that are most often missed when eating processed foods are fibre, an essential tool for weight management; essential fatty acids, nutrients that contribute to balanced hormones and a release of stored fat; and vitamins and minerals, important nutrients with a wide range of wellness roles that are often destroyed and not fully replaced in the processed food manufacturing process.

3. Eating fake-Fast foods generally include a large dose of chemical flavours, colours and preservatives; and, for anyone partaking of "diet" versions of these foods, there is often the addition of artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame or Splenda , both of which have been show to cause a wide range of health issues for many people. In addition, some chemical ingredients (i.e. glutamate and aspartate) have potential to negatively interfere with the part of the brain that controls hunger and satisfaction, a factor than can contribute to obesity.

Fast foods have a couple of advantages going for them. They are readily available and they are quick to purchase. When you weigh those pros, however, against the cons of limited nourishment, excessive chemical additives and, over time, an almost guaranteed problem with health and weight, any advantage seems far too huge a price to pay. Keep fast food intake to very occasional use and instead, do your body, mind and overall wellness a huge favour by trying a few new quick, easy and delicious recipes at home. Your taste buds, immune system, fat cells and brain will all say a huge thank you!


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